mech. eng. golfers please respond!

the advent of hybrid golf clubs in the last few years has made me wonder why two completely different club designs (irons vs. woods) existed in the first place. could someone please explain from a physics perspective why this is so?

irons have shorter shafts, and so it's easier to make good contact with the ball. but the longer shafts on woods result in more clubhead speed, and hence more distance.

woods have a bulbous faring on the backside of the face plate, leading to a lower center of gravity and higher moment of inertia. these are both good things, so why would you give them up with a blade design for an iron? what do you gain for their relative lack of forgiveness?

perhaps the two designs are just a historical artifact that is on the verge of being corrected by modern materials? woods made of metal first appeared in the 70s. now hybrids, combining a short shaft with a bulbous head, are on the rise in the 00s. cleveland golf with their hibore irons and tour edge with their bazooka jmax QL iron woods are pushing "progressive sole widths", in which there is a SMOOTH transition from an iron-like design for the lob wedge to a wood-like appearance for the 1 iron. is it just a matter of time before such sets are made to professional-grade standards and include lofts and shaft lengths equivalent to a driver?

please help! i just want to understand why there should be such drastic design differences between neighboring clubs (e.g. a 5 wood and a 3 iron).



Reply to
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Control/feel and shot spectrum.

Irons have the potential to offer a wider variety of shots than woods/hybrids.

You only get 14 clubs in the bag.

Do you prefer a bag filled with hybrids that might offer you 20 shots or would prefer a bag including a 2 or 3 iron thru sand wedge that might offer you 30 or 40 shots?


Reply to

Dear bjarthur:

Pure and simple, it is a matter of perception. With different club lengths and hefts, your body will learn to deliver a particular performance.

Other than that, it is like colors of ties, socks, etc. Pure fashion, and marketing exercise.

David A. Smith

PS: I have only golfed twice.

Reply to
N:dlzc D:aol T:com (dlzc)

Fantastic question. I will take a stab at it.

Correct, but also remember that more distance equates to less accuracy. Imagine a fraction of a degree off from square at impact on a short wedge verses a long club.

You loose workability. Good golfers can hit the ball straight with their irons, but can also work the ball around when they need to. Sometimes you have to move the ball in flight (draw, fade, etc) to give yourself the best opportunity to score.

It's simple. With longer irons/woods/hybrids/drivers, the premium is on forgiveness for less than perfect shots. For shorter clubs, short irons/wedges the premium is on control and flexibility in terms of shotmaking.

Most amateur golfers would be better served to ditch their 3,4,5,6,7 irons in favor of replacement woods/hybrids to take advantage of the forgiveness.

Reply to
Frank Ketchum

I'm not even an average golfer, and don't get to play nearly as much as i'd like, not enough to bother figuring my handicap. But i do have a few old scorecards lying around, they are 103, 103 and 99 on a par 71. About 3 weeks ago, just for kicks i went out with just my 3 wood, 6 iron, PW and putter. I shot 101 and putted horribly.

Reply to

The biggest FUNDAMENTAL difference between irons and woods/hybrids is the fact that the sweet spot and center of gravity relationship is different. Extreme game improvement irons with their huge cavity backs make this less so. The ball will get up more quickly with the rearward COG and the torque on the club due to an off-center hit will be reduced as well.

OTOH, I replaced my 3i with a 7W primarily because I didn't get a useful trajectory (for most shots in most circumstances) with a 3i. I replaced my

7W with a hybrid because the 7W hit the ball TOO damned high for me.


Reply to
Dave Lee

While I am a bad player who can use forgiveness, I'm hesitant about replacing my shorter clubs with hybrids. I don't find my hybrid to be a "rescue club" - I can't chop down nearly as effectively with it as I do with irons, so in the bad rough, it stays in the bag.

My hybrid hits long and high without a lot of roll, that's good. But my irons are straighter. I don't have the ability to "work" my shots yet.

Reply to
Howard Brazee

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